Thursday, January 25, 2007

A wonderful day

Yesterday was Phil's presentation of his membership of the Royal College of Surgeons and it was brilliant. I was quite looking forward to the day - but we'd thought we only had three tickets to the ceremony - so I was opting out and just coming to the dinner. Then at the last minute the Royal College said there were spare tickets so I was able to come to the ceremony. It snowed yesterday so that made it memorable in the first place and les parentios came down the night before so we had a leisurely start with some bacon butties that really threw the diet out of the window to start with. We got a cab to treat ourselves and because it's quite reasonable split between four so we arrived in good time. And when we saw the flag with the coat of arms flying above the large building that set the day off to a great start. It's a huge building well designed for all the hob knobbing - plenty of reception rooms and halls to feel very grand in. The first hall where Phil had to register had a marble floor and a few statues, one of which had a bit of a tale to it. The lady who donated the marble floor and the statue (of herself and her late husband who was a surgeon) had fallen in love with the sculptor and wanted his ashes also deposited in the statue along with hers and her late husband's. But it didn't happen in the end as their love affair ended. There was a huge statue of John Hunter - one of the first proper surgeons where people were having some photos taken - and we didn't know who he was. To remedy our lack of knowledge we went to the museum, in the building, which was excellent. I think that was why I enjoyed the day so much - because Phil's and the other surgeons' awards were put so well in their historical context. And what an amazing historical context to be part of! With my campaigning on this and that - to try and get ongoing funding for the NHS, to help older peoples' services and promote equality - I can lose sight so easily of all the progress that's made by humanity for humanity over what are very short time scales. The museum and the Royal College of Surgeons pointed this out so well. It was quite humbling and awe inspiring to think of all the progress made by each one of the 200 or so surgeons in the huge Edward Lumley hall where they each waited for their handshake from Bernard Ribeiro, the President. That all the knowledge of past medical interventions is so quickly passed down from these highly qualified doctors to their less experienced colleagues. And as we were sitting there, waiting for the ceremony to begin I felt SO happy and proud, not just because of Phil's achievements but for all of us, as the surgeons had come from all over the world - Africa, Asia, New Zealand - and each of them probably saving more lives than John Hunter could dream of. Tears of gratitude and joy welled in my eyes. The anatomical knowledge which Hunter clearly studied in great depth is now simply taken for granted almost, we knew we didn't need to ask Phil what was what - he knows it - it's a given. And the machines from as late as 1957 just looked so old and out of date - yet this is only a generation ago!
I wasn't expecting the art to be as inspirational either - in the museum they had a painting of the original 'Siamese Twins' and in the Hall a Hans Holbein of Henry VIII handing over a charter to the original association of Barber-Surgeons. Awesome. I probably won't have such an enjoyable day until the wedding!

Monday, January 22, 2007

The anti-climax of finishing a good book

I was trying to make it last as long as possible, but I've just finished a brilliant book and now I feel deflated. I suppose I can always read it again, a bit like looking at your wedding album over and over again. I like looking at other peoples'. I suspect I won't even like looking at my own that much - but who knows? I just can't wait.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rediscovering coffee, politics, John Wesley Harding and Claire Rayner

The new diet has meant that I've been recently giving up tea and coffee which has seemed unduly harsh. Well I'm having a lovely day with a delicious black coffee with organic sugar (it's a compromise), listening to John Wesley Harding reading Claire Rayner's autobiography. Phil is on a 24 hour shift. I'm thoroughly enjoying all of the four activities. Why Claire Rayner isn't Dame Claire Rayner is beyond me. She had a terrible childhood, and then through a lot of hard work and pure determination has had an incredibly successful life, helping others along the way.

The wedding planning is going very well. We've ordered the wedding rings, copying the in-laws every step of the way, hoping if we do so some of their happy married life might rub off on us! We're having engraved 'Anna & Phil forever' on the inside of each of the rings.

Radiotherapy starts on a week on Tuesday, the 30th. I'm hoping to cycle there each time which will see me exceed the government target of 1.5 hours of exercise each week. It'll be that daily.

My friend Robert also got engaged recently and we're going to his engagement party on Friday, and his fiancee D is a personal trainer who gave me a free session on Tuesday. There's some cellulite busting exercises which quite frankly I don't believe. It's too difficult. The fact is I can't motivate myself with exercise - it's boring. Unless I'm cycling. It's the quickest way to get from A to B in London.

Celebrity Big Brother has entered the world of parody. I know I was complaining that they edit everything out on the live programme. Well they've been showing racist bullying on the edited show. Thankfully the general public, politicians and the media have picked up on this and for once since Princess Diana's death I've been watching the news avidly. It's great to see racists get their just desserts and I hope Danielle and Jo also get evicted now. It's one of my favourite debates - Free Speech. How far does it go? Should we let anyone say whatever they like? Fascinating.

I've been watching the news more, and in fact getting involved - I voted on the Politics Show Prime Ministers Questions event. I feel better for it. Viewers had to vote with their phones (free) - you had to press 5 when you thought something someone was saying was good and 0 when it was rubbish. I pressed 5 when Keith Vaz MP asked Tony Blair about racism. And I pressed 0 when David Cameron asked Tony Blair about a stupid Home Office letter. They should do it for Question Time too which I also enjoyed. People seem to think that sexism is the acceptable face of racism. IE if we bully the bullies back then that's ok. Edwina Curry called the bullies 'b*tches' and 'sl*gs'. Dimbleby the Chair didn't pick her up on it - it was left to someone else on the panel. Why is that acceptable?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Slimmer and more sane in 2007

The great news is my GP has agreed that I can come off Olanzepine as I've now returned to 'normal' after having a 'normal' nasty wobbly in reaction to chemo before Christmas. As you can see from the wikipedia entry very recently there's been some publicity about its links to weight gain, so I'm delighted. However not delighted enough to ditch the sanity the drug brings.

The other good news is that my two tutors from Univeristy twelve years ago have agreed to be referees for my MA which I want to start in October, brilliant.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Darts, Poirot & Celebrity Big Brother

Yep, the weekend was a TV one and it was great. We watched Harry Potter and Phil guided me through the plot. Then yesterday we watched Poirot and I guided Phil through the plot. It's always the person you're least supposed to think it is with Agatha Christie. Phil said it was the Page Boy, which it never is, it's always someone with grandeur and an accomplice. So it was the banker and his secretary.

The Darts was phenomenol, apparently the best final since Jocky Wilson and Eric Bristow in 1989. Anyway, the underdog, 'Nixy' who everyone was rooting for, he'd been made redundant recently and had been able to practise his darts more. He was losing 6-0 at the interval, and managed to come back to 6-all but lost in the end. But it was very exciting. With all the marketing they're making the most of the 'Wives' (there don't seem to be any gay or single darts players). One was very glamorous and the other one wasn't, which again made one firm up one's allegiances. I couldn't decide with the wives. My new found obsession with make up (as I've got a shaved head of course) means I can now empathise with all these heavily made up women, in fact I'm now imitating them. I've finally found a foundation which doesn't make me look like I've got jaundice - it's the fairest one.

There's nothing very amusing to report on Celebrity Big Brother apart from that all the women on it seem to wear foundation I've noticed. I'm pleased I'm allowed to watch it - Phil banned me before with the normal one, but I love it. I like the human interactions they have. What is terrible though is the amount of editing when you watch it live. You're just watching and listening to an interesting conversation, but because the Channel Four lawyers are editing like hawks, so that any snippet of information about anyone else is cut.

The appointment with the Radiologist went fine - it's starting in a couple of weeks hopefully, - will find out on Friday. The main side effect from that is tiredness, which I'm counteracting with all my cycling.

The diet is going well. Like proper scientists, Phil and I have been monitoring our weights on a graph. His original graph was quite frankly a bit rubbish - you couldn't see what was going on as the scale was too small. His was our entire weight in kilograms on the y axis, with about six months on the x axis. In other words it's a straight line for both of us. I did another one with 60-58 kg on one page for myself and I've already gone off the page (in the right direction).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Tattontastic the musical

We went out last night as the Tattonmeister had a gig at Cargo. It was brilliant - and we went for a Chinese first - primarily so that Phil could get the really big straws for one of his inventions.

So we've had a v relaxing day today. Phil did his tax return while I went and got some fruit and veg. The fruit bowl is stacked very high. Now I'm on this diet, I find I'm snacking more - on things like dried apricots and grapes. Then we watched Singing in the Rain. And it made me think I would want my life displayed in musical form. Did you know that Andre Previn worked with the producer of Singing in the Rain? Well I didn't. Anyway, what I'd do for one of the scenes is have a jazzed up 'Champagne Supernova' with the character playing me tap dancing up an escalator coming into Charing Cross station for when I first moved to London.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The joys of Incapacity Benefit

Today was one of those days that you just write off. The weather was awful so I just did the ironing and I had the pleasure of applying for Incapacity Benefit. I'm entitled to it as 'Statutory Sick Pay' runs out after six months. Work automatically sent me the form. But there are no forms any more. You have to do it all by phone apparently. It was 'Computer says no' meets Myfanwy; a welsh girl who must have been about 19 asking ridiculous questions. Like had I been to prisoner of war camps in the far east. It was quite good - I was saying 'No' so much that I started saying it in silly accents to make the experience more enjoyable. 'nieu. nooo. nuuo.' I've certainly got no faith in the system.

The diet is still going quite well. Doing without tea and sugar is the worst bit. But I made two delicious soups today - Watercress for dinner and Lettuce for lunch. If I don't start losing weight soon I really will lose faith.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wedding Planning in the Twenty First Century for the over thirties

Is probably better than wedding planning for the under twenties in the nineteenth century. In fact make that definitely.

I'm still enjoying all the planning. And that's the thing, you know you're going to have a great day, make that two weeks, probably the best of your life so far, and so minor changes aren't going to make that much difference.

The diet is going well - more FAT
1) Carol Vorderman has got some good detox recipes including root vegetable soup which we had today
2) So has Gillian McKeith
3) And Super Juice man
4) We've bought a new juicer and it's great
5) I love our Xmas cards

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Years Resolutions

1) Stay Positive
2) Enjoy Life
3) Be active - 30 minutes of cycling per day
4) Enjoy good relationships
5) Keep up healthy lifestyle - meditation, aromatherapy, Alexander Technique, visualisation
6) Enjoy good communication
7) Listen well
8) HAve a good laugh every day
9) Show appreciation
10) Eat 5 fruit and veg per day

Monday, January 01, 2007

Bird theme for wedding

I am having hand made shoes for my wedding which I'm totally thrilled about. The shoemaker (Emmy) has been inspired by me I'm delighted to say and made an applique bird which she has just given me, the day before my birthday and it made my week!

I'm so delighted - my Auntie Enid is a big bird lover which has influenced me.